By Jeff Arnold, CEO and Chairman
Muhammad Ali’s passing leaves us bereft of not only an icon who inspired others to be their best self, but also a leader that had immense importance in the healthcare field. Since his Parkinson’s diagnosis over three decades ago, Ali made it his mission to be a guiding light in raising awareness of the importance of community, research, and support for this disease that affects a million people in this country and for which there is still no cure.
I witnessed Ali’s dedication to serving others firsthand when, during my time at WebMD, he agreed to be the driving force behind the first Parkinson’s Community on the platform. He provided inspiration and encouragement to thousands of Parkinson’s patients and those newly-diagnosed with the debilitating disease with grace, humor and determination, as depicted in the Super Bowl ad we aired in 2000.
A key takeaway I gleaned from Ali was the importance of time when battling a health condition: as a Parkinson’s patient, he always needed, and deserved, more time. One of my goals throughout my career has been to find and create solutions that make the healthcare process faster, more efficient, and more accessible. Though we’ve come a long way since the days Ali first provided hope for our digital Parkinson’s community, I am reminded by his passing that we still have a lot of work to do. As Ali would note, if our minds can conceive it, we can certainly achieve it.